Methodist Memories: First Patients Arrive at 84th & Dodge
Sunday, April 28, 1968, was the day the first patients arrived at the new Methodist Hospital. They were transferred, by ambulance, from Methodist Hospital at 3612 Cuming Street to the new Methodist Hospital at 8303 West Dodge Road. A nurse accompanied each patient, and the ambulance ride took about 15 minutes.
The first to arrive was Mrs. Louis McCulloch. "They tell me I was the first one wheeled in," said Mrs. McCulloch. She was appreciative of the new surroundings but added: "I hope I can be the first one out, too."
A total of 41 patients were smoothly and safely transported and tucked into brand new beds in a brand new building by 1:30 p.m. that day.
The following day, Monday, April 29, Methodist began admitting new patients. Thirty-three had been admitted by 10 a.m. The total number of patients admitted that first day: 85.
On Tuesday, April 30, 28 surgical procedures were performed.
Hospital management had forecast the hospital would be at 50% occupancy in about seven weeks and perhaps at 70% by the end of 1968.
"Our forecasts were so far off we couldn't believe it," said John Estabrook, head of the hospital.
On May 14, Mr. Estabrook reported to the board of directors that the patient census that day was 300. Medical-surgical beds were 95% occupied, coronary and intensive care beds were full to capacity, and 22 of 38 beds in obstetrics were occupied.
Within the first months of opening, the new hospital reached a daily census as high as 328 — the hospital's official capacity.
Sources: "A Century of Medical Miracles: Nebraska Methodist Hospital (1891-1991)" ©1991 by Hollis J. Limprecht and Nebraska Methodist Health System; NMH Pulse Beat, July 1968.